A successful career in acting requires you to have talent and experience with a little bit of luck. You can see and hear an actor or actress everywhere on a big screen, on television, in theatre, in videos, on the internet, and even on podcasts.
They portray different characters and emotions to bind the audience. Some actors work towards being a part of varying entertainment channels. In contrast, others stick to performing on stage, using their voice and acting skills to create a new world.
Becoming an actor or actress in Australia can be highly challenging. However, with professional training, relentless determination, and strong endurance to face constant rejections and unavoidable situations, nothing can stop you from reaching your dreams.
If you aspire to a career in acting, read this post and learn how to become a famous actor or actress in Australia, including how to get into acting, what it takes, how much they earn, the entry requirements and more.
1. What Does an Actor Do?
An actor or actress portrays a role or a character, and they perform in television, theatre, film, podcasts, and radio productions. An actor goes through the audition process to win an acting role. If selected, he rehearses the role and brings the character to life in front of an audience.
They might work on different levels of the profession, such as acting in leading roles or being extra in a more extensive cast.
As actors take up several roles, they must possess talent, self-motivation, creativity, confidence, and commitment.
2. Major Duties and Tasks of an Actor
Note: Film producers, television companies, broadcasting corporations, theatre companies, and advertising agencies hire actors in Australia. Actors must commit, be patient, and be determined. Work can be unpredictable, and production and rehearsal schedules can be too demanding.
3. What Qualifications Do You Need To Be an Actor?
You don't need professional qualifications to work as an Actor in Australia. However, building acting skills and professional contacts through formal training will increase your employability.
Auditions and/or past acting experience are the common pathways to acceptance into an acting course. Here are the steps to qualify for this role:
Enrol in a three-year undergraduate professional training program at globally recognised performance academies, such as the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), etc.
Take professional headshots, as you will require them when going for auditions or sending them to agents and casting directors.
Consider becoming a member of Actors' Equity, an actors' union in Australia. It provides assistance, public obligation, and helpful information for actors.
4. Steps To Become an Actor in Australia
In Australia, most professional actors begin their careers by developing experience performing in high school plays and musicals.
Here are a series of steps that Australians can follow to start an acting career:
Step 1: Get Involved With Your Local Theatre
Getting involved with your local theater while you're in high school can be an excellent way to kick-start your acting journey.
Joining drama clubs, auditioning for school plays, or volunteering backstage can provide valuable experience and exposure to the world of theater.
Step 2: Consider Joining Local Drama Classes and Productions
Joining local drama classes and productions can greatly contribute to building your acting skills and gain valuable experience.
These classes provide a structured environment where you can learn acting techniques, explore different roles, and receive guidance from experienced instructors.
Step 3: Enrol In an Acting School To Grow Your Confidence
Enrolling in an acting school is a valuable step to boost confidence and develop acting techniques. These schools provide a supportive environment and experienced instructors, helping you enhance your skills and expand your range as an actor
Through structured training programs, you'll gain the necessary tools to succeed in the industry while building self-assurance in your abilities. Invest in your growth by enrolling in an acting school and watch your confidence soar as you refine your technique.
Some of these include:
Stage and screen technique
Body language and movements
Step 4: Attend Auditions for Entry-Level Roles at Community Theatres
Attend auditions for entry-level roles at community theatres and small playhouses to kickstart your acting journey.
Community theatres often provide a welcoming platform for aspiring actors to showcase their talent and gain practical experience.
Participating in these auditions can build your repertoire, refine your skills, and establish connections within the local acting community.
Step 5: Complete A Relevant Bachelor's Degree
You could consider a degree in theatre, performing arts, drama, stage production, dance, and music.
Completing a relevant bachelor's degree can provide a solid foundation for your acting career. Pursuing a theatre, performing arts degree, or a related field equips you with essential knowledge, skills, and techniques.
The structured curriculum offers opportunities to refine your craft, explore various acting styles, and collaborate with fellow aspiring actors. Additionally, a bachelor's degree can enhance your credibility and open doors to further educational or professional opportunities in the industry.
Step 6: Keep Attending Acting Workshops
You can cultivate and refine your stage skills by attending auditions for entry-level roles at community theatres and small playhouses while gaining valuable industry knowledge.
These opportunities offer a platform to showcase your talent, build experience, and establish connections within the theatrical community.
Step 7: Create A Resume, Demo Reel, and a Professional Headshot
Lastly, invest in a professional headshot that captures your unique personality and presents a polished image to casting directors and agents. These essential components will help you make a professional and impactful impression in the competitive acting industry.
Display your performances across commercials, music videos, theatre productions, YouTube, or other entertainment platforms. You may seek a photographer to click professional headshots to send to local casting directors or agents. Submit them to casting calls and auditions.
Step 8: Build Industry Contacts With Related Professionals
These could include producers, screenwriters, and filmmakers. It helps you stay updated on upcoming acting roles and create a support system to help shape your profession in the initial years.
Step 9: Find A Reputed and Experienced Agent
When you have gained adequate experience, you can use your industry connections and expertise to help you get auditions, find acting opportunities and negotiate contracts.
Finding a reputable and experienced agent is crucial in advancing your acting career. An agent can provide valuable guidance, help you navigate the industry, and connect you with relevant opportunities.
Research and seek recommendations to identify agents with a strong track record, industry connections, and a genuine commitment to their clients. Collaborating with the right agent can significantly enhance your chances of success in the competitive acting world.
5. How To Find Acting Roles In Australia To Audition For
It is best to look for acting auditions that are right for you. One of the best ways to find acting work is through an agent who has links with other associates and casting directors and has television and studio contacts.
Overall, having an agent serves as a trigger to get auditions. If you have decided to proceed without an agent or have not found an agent, you should check out the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance website.
6. Do You Need an Agent to Become an Actor in Australia?
Yes, you do need an agent in Australia. Having an agent comes with benefits, putting you in a better place to find work.
They not only have connections with casting directors but also negotiate and discuss terms of contracts with the director so that you receive what you deserve the most.
The number of auditions and jobs you get reflects your relationship with your agent. You also need to put in the equal amount of effort you expect from your agent. They may help you land the audition, but ultimately you are the one who needs to get the job done.
Hence, to get the full benefit from your agent, you must ensure you can instantly respond to questions and use every opportunity they offer you.
Even though there are several examples of agents discovering talented individuals who achieve great success, there are other ways to get an agent. You must remember that agents have valuable ties with various filmmakers and casting directors, so you must focus on getting an agent and taking charge of the situation.
For instance, you can email them to watch the episode, invite them to a show you are performing in or ask for their assistance to arrange a meeting of interest to you.
The only thing you need to be careful about is that you are not turning your proactive nature into bothering the agent time and again.
7. How Much Do Actors or Actresses Get Paid in Australia?
The question of how much actors get paid entirely depends upon the type of role they perform, their expertise, and even their geographical location.
Metropolitan areas or cities where performing arts are more popular offer higher wages than rural areas or places miles away from production facilities.
According to PayScale, the average salary of an actor or actress in Australia is between AU$36,495 - AU$193,916 per year.
An early career Actor / Actress with 1-4 years of experience earns AU$33.74 per hour on average. Once an actor completes a few acting projects and forms industry connections, they may earn higher salaries. Actors often face the challenge of earning less money in the initial phase of their careers.
As most production houses and directors prefer working with experienced actors proficient in specific acting techniques, new actors' jobs are limited.
They usually earn based on several factors, such as:
The actor's screen experience
The size and budget of the production
Level of production
The shooting's location
Salary based on experience:
Early career (1-4 years of experience): AU$33.74 per hour
Mid-career (5-9 years of experience): AU$34.49 per hour
Experienced (10-19 years of experience): AU$22.00 per hour
In their late career (20 years and above): AU$49 per hour
Sydney is the highest-paying location for Actors in Australia, where you can earn $350 per day on average.
8. Tips To Become A Successful Actor in Australia
If you're eager to pursue an acting career without prior experience, consider the following tips and advice to give your journey a strong foundation:
Developing a strong network is essential in establishing a successful acting career. It's worth noting that many actors secure new opportunities based on their industry connections.
That's why even renowned actors make it a point to attend various events, including award shows, fashion shows, fundraising events, and movie launches.
These gatherings provide valuable opportunities to meet potential employers and build important relationships within the industry.
Understand That You Can Not Accept Every Role
Sometimes, actors become so immersed in their craft and love for acting that they unintentionally overlook the business side of their profession. It's crucial to be selective when choosing roles and pursue only those that truly resonate with you.
While your agent or manager can offer guidance, ultimately, you possess the insight to determine which roles will allow you to shine the brightest.
Get an Agent
Your choice of agent can significantly impact the trajectory of your acting career, as they possess the power to either elevate or hinder your progress.
Selecting the right agent entails finding someone who values your preferences, provides honest feedback, and actively seeks suitable opportunities on your behalf.
A reliable agent should be willing to go the extra mile for their clients and demonstrate a genuine commitment to their success.
Find Your Niche
Discovering your niche is essential for every actor. By recognizing your unique qualities and understanding how to leverage them, you can carve out a distinct space for yourself.
To identify your strengths, consider watching yourself on television, seeking feedback from others, and taking note of your behaviours and characteristics.
Once you have pinpointed your niche, focus on refining those specific attributes and excelling in your acting auditions. This knowledge provides a foundation for embarking on your acting career in Australia.
9. How Do Actors Get Their First Job in Australia?
The most critical tasks to grab your first acting job are getting comfortable with auditions and expanding your industry connections.
If you are an aspiring actor looking for work, here are the steps that may get you a job:
Step 1: Get Trained
Even if you have natural acting skills, you must refine them to prepare for on-screen and on-stage performances. Thus, formal training is required to improve your chances of landing a role.
Some leading drama schools run undergraduate professional training courses for aspiring actors. You will learn and master acting skills under the guidance of trained professionals.
National Institute of Dramatic Art
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
Victorian College of the Arts
Actors Centre Australia
You can also study for a full-time bachelor's degree or VET courses in drama, theatre, stage production, performing arts, dance, music, or any other relevant field.
Step 2: Build Your Professional Network
Look for casual meetups, regional and local amateur drama production companies, and other places to meet other aspiring actors, filmmakers, writers, and playwrights.
The more you connect with industry people, the higher your chances of getting the initial break-in acting.
Some of the places you can consider:
Launceston Players, Tasmania
Adelaide Repertory Theatre, Adelaide
Brisbane Arts Theatre, Brisbane
New Theatre in Newtown and Arts Theatre Cronulla in Sydney
Step 3: Attend Workshops
Attending acting workshops is a great way to develop or refine a skill to boost your audition package. At the same time, it also gives you experience and networking opportunities in a less competitive environment.
Australian Music Theatre Festival is a great platform to connect with casting directors and experienced actors and attend workshops.
Step 4: Decide Your Career Path
Acting is a vast field comprising a wide range of performance styles. You need to pick one area that interests you and achieve perfection.
Here is a list of categories:
Step 5: Find Auditions That Match Your Aspiration
Hiring an agent eases your task of finding roles to audition for. They have connections with studio and TV contacts, working casting directors, and associates that can improve your chances of landing auditions.
Step 6: Get Your Marketing Material Ready
As a beginner actor, you need various promotional materials that show recent and high-quality representations of you.
These include headshots, a showreel, and a professional CV to showcase your acting skills and experience to the casting director.
Make sure you accompany your promo material at all of your auditions. You can also post it to potential agents for even better exposure. Once prepared, you must get yourself in the audition room and give 100%. Be the best version of yourself.
Stay optimistic when you receive rejections and criticism. Remember that failures are the path to success. When in acting or life, take every rejection positively, knowing that it prepares you for something better that is on your way.
Even if you don't land the job, don't stress; start afresh with the right mindset. It will help you get more confident in your audition package.
9. Where Should You Consider Acting Training and Why?
Even though you are not required to have professional acting experience to become an actor, formal and advanced training can help you to land a role.
You surely must have heard of “The Big Three” - the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), and the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA).
These are prestigious and well-known institutions in Australia that offer both vocational education and training and full-time bachelor-level courses in acting. Let us learn more about them:
Besides the above three, you can also join Actors Centre Australia (ACA), renowned in the industry. It follows an industry-focused and practical approach that has helped to produce exceptional talent like Jonathan LaPaglia and Rose Byrne.
Furthermore, you can explore the best opportunities in your region and look for drop-in or short-term classes. This is a more casual path towards your training as an actor.
However, it can still help you educate yourself more about acting and develop you as an actor.Perform Australia is a great place to start if you are interested in taking this path.
The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) usually hold acting auditions in November every year in most territories and states of Australia.
Perform Australia has admissions in February and July, with auditions conducted in the months before the start of the programme. The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) auditions take place in November and early December.
To get detailed information, you must visit the respective websites of these institutions.
10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How To Become an Actor Without Acting in School?
While it is usually required to attend an acting school to gain acting experience, you may become an actor with experience. In that case, you must put in consistent and dedicated efforts.
Here are some tips to get started in acting without experience:
Get a good knowledge of the entertainment industry. Understand the intricacies of acting. Read guides on talent agencies, marketing, filmmaking, and management companies to gain confidence before entering this field.
Read a book on different acting techniques and continuously work to enhance your skills. Try practising these techniques and famous monologues with your friends.
Be proactive in your career. Look for auditions for roles and attend as many as you can. Even if you face rejection, you will improvise your acting skills somehow.
Take the help of a talent agent who will help you find acting audition opportunities.
Look for acting opportunities in local productions, plays, commercial ads, and independent films. If that isn't possible, you can volunteer to gain acting experience and boost your resume.
Once you have got the hang of acting, it is time to grab as many acting opportunities as you can to showcase your skills. You can look for opportunities in community theatres, acting workshops, student films, drama clubs, or sharing a monologue on a social media website.
Finally, keep learning and progressing as an actor.
How To Become an Actor on Netflix?
Netflix is a popular streaming platform for movies, TV serials, and productions. It is particularly famous among budding/unknown actors who can find more chances to land an acting job
So, here is how you can audition for Netflix:
Start by familiarising yourself with Netflix's casting call requirements and documentation process.
You must usually submit copies of your resume, headshots, and relevant acting experience for consideration. Ensure you provide accurate and concise information so that your submission stands out from the other applicants.
Research the Netflix project you plan to audition for. Properly understand the type of character so that you deliver precise interpretation while auditioning.
Carefully read the sides or descriptions the casting director provides to understand the material's context better.
Practice and prepare so that you can perform in the audition more confidently.
How To Become an Actor at 16?
The following tips will help prepare teens for a professional acting career:
Learn about your talents. The more distinctive your abilities are, the higher your chances of emerging on the screen.
Enrolling in a drama or acting school to sharpen your role-playing abilities is the best way to learn how to become an actor at a young age.
Once you have prepared yourself, start creating a portfolio by recording your actions and uploading them online.
Several film and audition producers need young talents. So, enrolling in auditions is the next step in your professional journey. It is an excellent opportunity to build experience.
Aspiring actors who wish to learn how to become an actor at 16 or below should remember to keep practising, learning, and continuing to appear in as many films as they can. Acquaint yourself with the film production process, the crews, and the mechanism behind it.
How To Become a Child Actor in Australia?
If your child wants to pursue "Acting" as a career, then some of the best ways to start are:
Watch different types of films, television series, and theatre productions
Get a subscription to trade magazines and publications
Follow local filmmakers on social media handles such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Listen to industry podcasts
Watch interviews and read autobiographies of actors you admire.
You may also consider enrolling your child in a range of acting classes that include: Private coaching, School drama classes, Holiday programs or 1-day workshops led by NIDA and WAAPA, and Weekly group classes
Developing your child's mindset to prosper in this industry is essential. To do this, begin exposing him to books, podcasts, and TED talks from an early age.
Equip yourself with professional marketing materials such as a clear headshot, showreel, filmed clips, and brief CV to help your child stand out in the industry.
Lastly, it is the time to let your child enact different types of roles and monologues with his friends to build and improve his acting skills.
What Benefits Do Actors Get?
Working in an Actor's profession offers you exciting opportunities. Some of them are:
You can depict different characters and act out scenes, which can be delightful.
Actors often travel to different exciting filming locations and work environments like historical sites, hill stations, etc.
It is not a monotonous role. You can work on various performance styles, such as dramatic, comedic, and voice acting. You can even secure a role in a television show, film, or as a live performer.
High earning potential is another significant benefit of working in this profession. Established actors earn very high salaries, particularly when assigned to projects with extensive budgets.
You can meet and collaborate with varied people on each project. It includes other actors, producers, directors, customers, playback singers, and more.
Do Actors Get Paid per Show?
Yes. Netflix actors are usually paid per episode for Netflix's original series. If they work on Netflix original movies, they get paid on a production basis.
How Much Do Netflix Actors Get Paid?
The average Netflix salary is around $159,260 per year. It is substantially higher than the average actor's salary in traditional production studios. It shows that Netflix has higher payouts than other production studios.
Adult actors are usually paid higher than child actors, but actors could get paid between $80,000 to $350,000 per episode.
Celebrity actors starring in original productions on Netflix can earn larger sums of about $20 million based on the role, experience, individual cast member's experience, and other factors.
Is It Hard To Get Into Acting in Australia?
Yes. Making a sustainable full-time career as an actor in Australia takes incredible time and effort.
Suppose you are passionate about on-screen acting and motivated to improve your acting skills constantly. In that case, you will have greater chances to succeed as an actor.
Do Actors Get A Lot of Money?
Earning potential is another advantage of working as an actor.
It is because actors in high-profile projects and high-grossing movies receive more money than those in low-key acting roles. Furthermore, actors associated with productions with substantial budgets and coverage may make higher earnings.
It is because some actors can earn very high salaries, primarily if they work on projects with extensive budgets.
Furthermore, their earning potential increases as their career advances. They can secure more jobs and competitive salaries by gaining command of different performance styles and developing experience.
What Makes A Brilliant Actor?
You must have a combination of abilities to become a successful Actor in the industry. Some are born with these abilities, while others can develop them through professional training.
Able to memorise a movie script or theatre performance
Physical fitness to be on set for several long hours and handle stage work without a break, particularly during live performances.
Excellent communication skills to convey emotions and natural expressions in a scene.
Strong speaking skills and ability to connect with a broad audience, especially when performing a live performance
Can You Be Naturally Good at Acting?
Some people are naturally good at acting without much training. They are appealing to watch, comfortable on stage, confident, or have the "X" factor that makes them attractive. They are inherently great observers, listeners, and a natural storyteller.
So, acting can be a natural talent for some, but you can also cultivate and master it with training and lots of practice.
It is a skill that you can learn. You can be a brilliant actor with perseverance, hard work, and passion, even when it doesn't come naturally.
Is 23 Too Old to Start Acting?
Considering the intense competition in the film industry, the sooner you start, the better it will be. 23 is an excellent age to enter the acting industry as you can capitalise on most of the acting opportunities, which reduces over time.
Most acting jobs are for fresh faces and young talent. That's why you will find most actors between 20-25 years of age.
More than old actors, people are interested in watching young actors. Also, when we are young, we only have a little financial dependency on our job. We can spend time learning and improvising our skills.
Furthermore, we quickly adapt to the demanding acting world at this stage. The sooner you enter the profession, the more time you have to make contacts, attend auditions and establish yourself in the industry.
How Long Do Actors Work a Day?
The number of work hours in this profession largely depends on the role, film studio, and filming schedule.
Actors work between 10 and 20 hours a day, six days a week when featured in a leading role. Supporting actors work around 30 hours a week.
How Do I Become an Actor With no Experience in Australia?
Here are a few things you can try out to prepare yourself as an aspiring actor with no acting experience:
Start watching commercials, films, and television shows.
Attend to the stage direction, diction, and physical reactions based on the production type.
Determine your niche and the types of roles that suit you. Look for auditions for roles in that area.
Target the best medium where you have a natural advantage and higher chances to improve your earning potential. These include television commercials, television shows, and full-length films.
Practice your craft at home in front of your mirror. Evaluate your expressions, speech patterns, and body language.
Get in touch with other creative professionals, such as actors and writers within your field, to learn about their life and craft.
Is Acting Very Hard?
Like any other profession, it requires a deep interest in the job, patience, consistent efforts, humility, a learning attitude, and perseverance (even when you face constant rejections and cannot make money) to succeed in any field.
Acting takes immense hard work, passion, and dedication. Also, there is no stability or assurance in the industry. However successful you become, you must work continuously to maintain your success.
Getting the first break in acting can be difficult, as a hundred people can compete for a role. However, if you are passionate and determined to act, you will withstand adversities and eventually succeed in the long run.
We have a few tips to help ease your professional journey and improve your chances of success:
Get some training to develop your skills and techniques. Some good options include attending a drama school or taking acting classes.
Get involved in film projects or local theatre productions to get experience working on a professional set.
Invest time in offline and online networking and building professional connections. The more connections you make, the higher your chances of landing your first break.
Is It Hard to Make It as an Actor?
Yes. The subjective audition process is the hardest part of becoming an actor. There is usually high competition for any role, particularly in high-profile projects.
Besides this, Actors take time to acquire various challenging skills to infuse life in a script in a believable way. Use of imagination, analysis of scripts, planning the actions and inner life of a character, and developing an influential voice are some skills that enable them to create a complex plan for a performance.
Moreover, they spend many months training their brain and eye to look for action in lines, to identify when and where to make bold choices, and when to keep them subtle.
It takes them years of intense training and hard work to make themselves known in the competitive acting industry.
Do Actors Have To Memorise Lines?
An actor's significant challenge is memorising lines while believably playing the unreal character.
Some of the methods that Actors use to memorise the script are:
Repeat lines multiple times with different rhythms, and read them aloud.
Memorise dry text and later add emotions to it.
Use memory aids like flashcards.
Record your voice and listen to the audio. Repeat the step till you learn.
Practice with a friend, which helps you memorise the lines quickly and get constructive feedback.
Divide the monologues into smaller segments and repeat them over and over again.
Visualise the characters and mental images of the scene.
Is Acting a Skill or Talent?
An actor's arsenal has both genetic and learned elements.
People born with acting talent are innately sharp-eyed, good listeners, and imaginative. They have a photographic memory, a great sense of humour, an impressive personality, and an ability to mimic and make others laugh.
However, those who lack natural acting talent/skills can take advantage of plenty of ways to improve on stage and learn the craft of acting that most performers have benefitted from.
How To Become an Actor in Perth?
Full of generous artists, Perth can be a great place to begin, grow, or refine your acting craft and career. There are several ways to kickstart your acting career in the city.
Start by heading to one of the great cinemas or theatres or cinemas and learn about the folks around you.
You would also need to undertake acting training in WA. There are several different institutions throughout Perth, including WAAPA, WAYTCo, the Drama Department at UWA, and The Actors Hub, to learn various acting techniques.
You may even study a degree in the arts, like:
Once you gain acting skills, look for an acting agent to arrange a meeting with the city's famous on-screen and on-stage casting directors. There are chances that you may even get a call for a general audition at Black Swan State Theatre Company.
Last, whether trained or untrained, signed or unsigned, you can create and produce your work. Perth offers immense support and enthusiasm for budding theatre-makers. Visit people/ companies with your idea, and you will be amazed at how people support you in materialising your vision.
Is Acting A Stable Career?
Acting is not a stable job. It is more of a temporary work. Actors work as independent contractors in various acting projects, including plays, commercials/industrials, films, etc.
As every project has to end one day, this profession has no permanency. Once the project ends, the same job hunt starts.
Due to uncertainty and unexpected time off involved, you should not expect any job security in this profession. An actor can finish one acting assignment and have to remain idle for some time till they secure their next role.
Knowing about the "uncertainty" of this profession, most actors maintain side jobs like blogging (educational websites) to ensure they timely pay their bills and cover their expenses.
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